New York Governor David Paterson plans to reconsider the rules that enable New York’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), according to a recent report in the New York Times. Power plants have long contended that the RGGI system of auctioning emission allowances puts companies who are locked into long term contracts at a serious disadvantage. Such generators, argue representative groups such as the Independent Power Producers of New York (IPPNY), cannot recoup the extra costs associated with purchasing allowances. Similar concerns prompted Indeck Energy in January to file a lawsuit challenging New York’s authority to implement RGGI, and alleging that the regulations would essentially impose an unauthorized tax.

News of Paterson’s agreement to reexamine the rules has provoked a sharp response from environmental groups. Luis Martinez, energy attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, commented, “Reopening the rule for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to give power plant owners another bite at the apple is not only unnecessary to address their concerns, it takes us in the wrong direction. Governor Paterson should be fulfilling the needs of consumers, not making deals with industry behind closed doors.” IPPNY has disputed any suggestion that the decision to reopen the rules was the result of behind the scenes maneuvering, stating, “For several years, these concerns were communicated in IPPNY's comments to the Department of Environmental Conservation and to the press and public through multiple press releases during the RGGI rulemaking process. Both during the rulemaking process and after, IPPNY made those same concerns known to the Executive Branch in a manner that is available to every citizen and interest group in this state.”

Environmental groups have submitted Freedom of Information Act requests for Governor Paterson’s schedule and records of any communications with power generator groups and are calling on his administration to release the details of any agreement with energy producers.

New York RGGI Implementing Regulations:


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